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NIH renews funding for clinical research center

The National Institutes of Health has announced that it will continue for the next four years its funding of the MIT Clinical Research Center.

The center, established in 1964, will receive $9 million in support over the four-year period.

"We are most pleased with this expression of NIH's continued confidence in the MIT Clinical Research Center," said Professor Richard J. Wurtman, MD, CRC director and a professor of neuropharmacology in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Professor Wurtman has directed the center since 1985.

The MIT Clinical Research Center is the nation's only NIH-supported CRC to be based at a university rather than at a hospital. Being at a university facilitates studies on normal volunteer subjects, readily available in the student population, and avoids the problem of allocating space and resources between research projects and patients needing diagnosis and treatment, Professor Wurtman said.

The main CRC research programs at MIT relate to behavioral neuroscience (Professor Suzanne Corkin), human neuropharmacology (Professor Wurtman) and nutrition-metabolism (Professor Vernon R. Young).

The CRC has developed several important collaborations with researchers at many of the medical facilities in the Boston area.

The CRC's associate program director is William Dietz, MD, PhD, a research scientist with the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology (HST) and an associate professor at Tufts University.

Assistant program directors are San Wang, MD, a visiting scientist at the CRC and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and David August, MD, a lecturer with the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

The CRC lists 39 principal and associate investigators who are working on 47 approved protocols. Last year it recorded 388 inpatient days and 2,466 outpatient visits.

The center, as an academic unit, is part of the HST, which is directed by MIT Professor Roger Mark, MD, PhD, and Harvard Professor Michael Rosenblatt, MD. The CRC is authorized to appoint research staff, administer research activities and develop its own training programs.

As a patient-care unit, the CRC is part of MIT's Medical Department and all CRC committees and functions concerned with patient care and quality assurance report to the Medical Department, directed by Professor Arnold N. Weinberg, MD.

The CRC is accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations as an ambulatory care facility through its affiliation with the MIT Medical Department, which has hospital accreditation.

A version of this article appeared in the May 12, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 32).

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